The Collins Cup was back with a bang this weekend with Team Europe successfully defending the title they won 12 months ago.
You can read our 2022 Collins Cup report here, but for a full match-by-match recap of the action, carry on scrolling…
Match 1: Daniela Ryf (Europe) v Sarah True (USA) v Flora Duffy (International)
The Ironman world champion had far too much for the Olympic and Commonwealth champion as the big names clashed in the curtain raiser and Team Europe came out well on top. Ryf put last year’s humbling by Taylor Knibb well behind her to stay in touch with Duffy on the swim, and then put in a powerhouse performance on the bike to open a gap of 6mins heading into T2, which she maintained during the run to pick up maximum bonus points with the fastest women’s time of the day.
Match 2: Laura Philipp (Europe) v Chelsea Sodaro (USA) v Ashleigh Gentle (International)
Team International took their first victory thanks to PTO Tour Canadian champion Gentle’s renowned footspeed. Having led out of the swim, the Australian was overtaken by Philipp on the 80km bike, but stayed in contention into T2 and retook the lead just 3miles into the run. From there, Gentle was in cruise control, but with Philipp beating Sodaro it marked the worst of starts for the USA.
Match 3: Kat Matthews (Europe) v Skye Moench (USA) v Paula Findlay (International)
Findlay dominated from the start to pile on the points for Team International, as the Canadian proved once again she’s a force to be reckoned with over the 100km distance. The winner of the inaugural PTO Championship in Daytona in 2020 held a narrow advantage out of the water, but extended it throughout, while Moench and Britain’s Matthews were locked in a battle to beat one another and try unsuccessfully to limit the bonus point losses.
Match 4: Nicola Spirig (Europe) v Sophie Watts (USA) v Vittoria Lopes (International)
Spirig swapped out her trademark road bike with clip-on tri-bars for a TT-bike and disc wheel to put on a masterclass in Match 4. The London 2012 winner more than justified her captains’ pick, as she took the lead from Lopes on the bike and then rode away from her challengers for maximum bonus points – Watts unfortunately having to withdraw during the run leg.
Match 5: Holly Lawrence (Europe) v Jocelyn McCauley (USA) v Ellie Salthouse (International)
Like Spirig, Lawrence also justified her selection as a captains’ pick by running away to another bonus points success in Match 5 to give Europe three wins in the opening five matches. After crashing last year and finishing in third place to Salthouse, Lawrence more than avenged that defeat, breaking away from the Australian towards the final stages of the bike, and then McCauley early in the 18km run.
Match 6: Anne Haug (Europe) v Jackie Hering (USA) v Tamara Jewett (International)
Haug made it four wins from six for Team Europe, as the German held off the challenge from debutant Canadian Jewett and USA’s Hering to take the tape after the three spent much of the swim and bike together and started the run together. It was also a turnaround from 2021, where Hering had beaten Haug into third, and finished the women’s matchups with Europe having one hand on the trophy.
Match 7: Kristian Blummenfelt (Europe) v Ban Kanute (USA) v Hayden Wilde (International)
The Norwegian Ironman and Olympic champion showed he was ready to take on all comers by making it four wins in a row for Team Europe, breaking away on the second-half of the bike to take a maximum bonus points win. The step up from sprint competition in the Commonwealth Games proved a leap too far for Wilde, but the Kiwi was still good enough to hold on for second.
Match 8: Sam Laidlow (Europe) v Sam Long (USA) v Lionel Sanders (International) (International)
It took until Match 8 to register the first close finish, but it was worth the wait as Sanders managed to outsprint Long as they approached the finish carpet to take a third victory for Team International. The pair had been inseparable for almost the entire race as they clawed back over 3mins on the swim to Laidlow, caught him coming into T2 and then pulled away as Laidlow slowed to a walk on the run.
Match 9: Magnus Ditlev (Europe) v Rudy Von Berg (USA) v Max Neumann (International)
It was more glory for Team Europe as the giant Dane Ditlev showed the kind of form that took him to a 7hr 35min finish in Challenge Roth last month. Having stayed close to Von Berg and Neumann during the swim, Ditlev took command on the bike, and crossed 7mins ahead of the American to pick up maximum bonus points with Neumann in third.
Von Berg: 3pts
Match 10: Patrick Lange (Europe) v Jason West (USA) v Aaron Royle (International)
It might have been too late to stop Europe’s victory march, but Aaron Royle was another who more than justified his captains’ pick with a convincing win over Lange and West. The Australian had put his hand up for selection with a podium finish in the PTO Canadian Open, and having led out of the water never looked like being toppled. West rallied to overtake Lange for second and keep the deficit to under 6mins and stop Royle from picking up maximum bonus points.
Match 11: Gustav Iden (Europe) v Matt Hanson (USA) v Jackson Laundry (International)
There were no surprises in Match 11 as PTO-ranked No 2 Iden never looked in danger as he ran out a comfortable winner with the second fastest time of the day, just behind compatriot Blummenfelt. Having won recently in the PTO Canadian Open, in last year’s Collins Cup and in the PTO Championship in 2020, Iden remains the dominant force over the 100km distance.
Match 12: Daniel Bakkegard (Europe) v Chris Leiferman (USA) v Braden Currie (International)
Bakkegard rounded out a convincing triumph for Team Europe with another 6pt bonus point win over Currie and Leiferman. Both the Dane and Kiwi had won their respective matches in 2021, but it was Bakkegard who took charge from the outset to rattle up Europe’s eighth win and round off a fantastic day for the hosts.